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Yes! The letters between Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford. He waspish, she teasing - a delight.


I like these suggestions, I find the Mitfords fascinating, and Patrick Leigh Fermor is a favorite writer of ours. I recommend "Letters to an American Lady" by C.S. Lewis. And not letters but compelling is "The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family."


And still with Nancy, I forgot "The Bookshop at 10, Curzon Street", letters from/to Nancy and Heywood Hill.


Thanks, Terra, I hadn't come across the Lewis book before!

Dark Puss

Hmm, generally in my very limited experience collections of letters do not excite me. If I can be allowed to cheat (the word "letter" is in the title) I do strongly recommend Voltaire's Letters Concerning the English Nation which (to my surprise) was published in English before it was published in French. If I was to start reading people's letters then without doubt the first person I would go to would be Colette; at least 5 volumes of her letters are available in French and some have certainly been translated and published in English. I bet I'd still rather read her books though!


I always like to know the person behind the books, so I find letters and diaries fascinating and illuminating, and often very entertaining in their own right.

Mr Cornflower

If I can add to my earlier recommendations the already widely renowned "Dear Lupin: Letters to a Wayward Son" by Roger Mortimer


I remember much chortling when you were reading that!

Heather Bond

The Element of Lavishness - letters between William Maxwell and Sylvia Townsend Warner. Really wonderful.


Duly noted. Many thanks, Heather.

Margaret Powling

Without a doubt my favourite letters are: The Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters, which are between publisher Rupert Hart-Davis and his old master at Eton, George Lyttelton (father of the late Humphrey.) The original editions are in 6 hardbacks, later published in three paperbacks. Rupert and George wrote to each other once a week for six years, until the death of George. Their correspondence followed a meeting at a dinner party in which old George said that no one ever wrote to him and Rupert, seeing this as something of a challenge, said that he would write to George. And he did. They talked of many things, but publishing and cricket are there of course, between these two erudite English gentlemen. Why I love this correspondence I don't really know, because I know little of the world of publishing (reading yes, publishing no - or publishing as it was in the 1950s) and even less about cricket, but I love the books.
Also, and while I've not seen a copy on Abe (because I checked): Two Gentlemen of Letters, the letters between poet Martyn Skinner and novelist R C Hutchinson. Coincidentally, published by Rupert Hart-Davis.


I was going to mention the Maxwell-Townsend Warner exchange of letters too, now I add the Harvard University Press edition of The Letters of Emily Dickinson. Such a great addition to her poetry.


That would be my pick, too!


So I Have Thought of You the letters of Penelope Fitzgerald to family and friends. Even more interesting to read now after the recent publication of her life by Hermione Lee.


I'd like to recommend an exchange of letters between Joyce Grenfell and Katharine Moore called "An Invisible Friendship". Also, in this WW1 anniversary year, "Letters from a Lost Generation", a selection of letters written by Vera Brittain and four of her male contemporaries.

Joan Kyler

I've been dipping into two of the books you mention, Love from Nancy and What There Is to Say We Have Said. Letters can give a very personal and intimate portrait of the writer.

A book I read years ago but which I still think about is Always, Rachel, a book of letters between Rachel Carson and a woman who, essentially, wrote her a fan letter. The letters tell the story of how their relationship grew over the years. It's very interesting.


I think the Lyttleton/Hart-Davis letters would go down well in this house. Thank you, Margaret.


I wasn't previously aware of Emily Dickinson's letters, so thank you, Cath.


The biography is wonderful, so as you say, in the light of that the letters will be even more interesting.


I have a very soft spot for Joyce Grenfell and have read her autobiographical books as well as a biography by Janie Hampton. I'd love to read the letters!


That does sound good, too. Thank you, Joan.

Margaret Powling

Yes, I agree with Jenny M ... I almost added that to my recommendation of the Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters. It's a delightful read.

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